Fractured Cooking

21 May

I promised to put together a post on some of the meals I’ve been cooking up lately, and I am. This is. BUT, I did find out that I need to develop a better habit of taking pictures while I cook. So, please forgive me if there are some gaps here and there.

First, I want to start out with the steak roll-up, or steak pinwheels, that I made a few weeks ago.

These were pretty good, but I could definitely still make improvements on the recipe. What I did was look up a few recipes for steak pinwheels on some of my favorite sites, like Food Network, Eating Well and Better Homes and Gardens. Then, I chose the ingredients I liked and the general method I thought would work and put together my own plan. This was made with a very thin, flat flank steak. I then cooked up a serving or two of stuffing and added sun-dried tomatoes to it. Next I sauteed some chopped onions with a chopped yellow bell pepper. When they were almost done I added some fresh spinach and let it wilt. I spread the stuffing on top of the steak, then topped it with the pepper and spinach mixture. Lastly, I sprinkled on some Parmesan cheese for good measure. I rolled it all up and secured it with some kitchen string. Then I brushed it with olive oil and let it cook on the grill.

What I’d change about this recipe is the cooking method. All the ingredients tasted good, but because I cooked it over the direct flame of the grill at a high heat the meat ended up a little dry. So next time I’ll use lower temps, in the oven or using indirect heat on the grill.

Another meal I really enjoyed was Barley Stuffed Peppers. This was a really delicious re-do of the traditional beef and rice stuffed green pepper. I found the recipe here, on BHG. First you cook up some mushrooms and barley (I used shiitake mushrooms for something different).

Then, in a separate bowl you mix up tomatoes, shredded zucchini, shredded mozzarella,  an egg, breadcrumbs and seasonings.

Then you mix the veggies with the barley and stuffed some halved peppers. Unfortunately, this is where I forgot to keep taking pictures! After the peppers were stuffed they went into a corning ware dish and into a 350 degree oven. The recipe says to cook for 20-25 minutes, but I found these needed at least 40. They were really good and I’m sure I’ll make them again. Such a good swap-out for the tired and overused and with all those veggies and grains it’s got to be good for you!

If you asked me what my favorite meal was, I’d probably say soup. I love soup. Soups of all kinds. What I really love about soup is that you can make almost any main dish into a soup. So, this last week I made taco soup and it was really easy and really good!

It all started out like this:

Looks a little overwhelming, but this is typical for most of my meals. I’m attracted to recipes with a lot of ingredients.

So, what I did was I browned up a pound of ground beef with some chopped onions (I cheated with some frozen ones straight out of the bag), minced garlic and a few shakes of some of my favorite spices: cumin, chili pepper and cayenne pepper. After the meat was all browned I added a can of rinsed black beans, a can of diced tomatoes with chilies, a minced jalepeno, and corn. I used two ears of corn that I cut off the cob, because I really like fresh corn. I’m really glad I did that because the corn still had a little bit of crunch to it when everything was done cooking.

Then I added a box of chicken broth and half a jar of salsa and let it heat until boiling. This was a very full pot, so it took a while to boil, long enough for things to get just soft enough I thought. Finally I made a little “bar” of toppings.

Then I ladled myself out a bowl and topped away! I’m glad I used those ramekins for the cheese and sour cream because otherwise I could have easily gotten carried away.

This was truly delicious- especially when the sour cream melted into the rest of the soup. One of my favorite things about this recipe is how flexible it is. You could easily swap out, add or subtract many of the ingredients. For example, you could match your broth to your meat, using chicken breast strips or shredded chicken instead of the ground beef, or you could use beef broth. This could easily become a vegetarian recipe by switching to vegetable broth, eliminating the meat and adding another bean, like red kidney or pinto. You could also make this as spicy or as mild as you’d like depending on the salsa you chose. I also think next time I might add tomatillos, black olives and a habanero pepper in adoboe sauce.

Finally, last but in no way least, is my favorite sandwich of all time. This is labeled in my recipe book as “The Best Sandwich Ever.” I like to think of it as an upgraded BLT. One thing this guy and I agree on is that you can’t go very wrong when it comes to bacon:

All I do is make a BLT, but some with better toppings. First, you’ve got to have good bread. I prefer marble rye. If these slices would fit into my toaster, I’d toast them, but *alas* they are just too big.

Then I start building the sandwich by mashing up some avocado and spreading that on one slice of the bread. I mash it because sliced avocado slips off the sandwich too easily, and this bad boy is messy enough already. Then I spread aioli on the other slice. My recipe for aioli is mayo, olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, and paprika. It is a killer mayo. Then I mound some sprouts on top of the aioli- I like sprouts way better than lettuce or spinach- and add some thick slices of tomato.

Then add your bacon and the star of the show, a fried egg.

Squish closed so the yolk just starts to run out and presto! The best sandwich you will ever cram into your piehole. I suggest serving with an ice cold brewski, like this:

Yeah, I’ll just let you linger on that last picture. Is your mouth drooling like mine is?

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Posted by on May 21, 2011 in Recipe


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